The Simmons Titan 20 is the cheapest beginner electronic drum kit you can get from Simmons right now. It’s a pretty basic kit all the way around, but has some nice mesh pads and a great price point. Let’s take a closer look at this one.
Drum Pads & Cymbal Pads
The pads on this kit are some of the most basic that you can get from Simmons. Even with that, they still pack some mesh head pads for the snare and tom with this kit, which is great for such a cheap drum kit.
The snare pad is an 8 inch, dual zone drum pad with a 2-ply mesh head. The head tension can be adjusted with the tension rods. There is a single sensor towards the front of the pad. The head and the rim both can generate sounds, which gives you some flexibility in sound generation, but there is no true rim shot capability via striking both the rim and head at the same time. The snare is only 8 inches in diameter, which can be a pretty small hit target. But for a cheap beginner kit it’s not all that bad.
The tom pads are all 8 inch mesh pads, once again with a 2-ply mesh head. There is a single sensor towards the front of the pad. Tension can be adjusted on these pads, like the snare. These pads are only single zone and won’t generate sounds on the rim, just the head. The 8 inch size makes them a decent hit target but they can feel small. I do like how the rims on the toms are a little lower so they don’t feel so restrictive when trying to strike the head.
The Cymbal Pads
Like Titan’s other budget kits, the cymbals pad on this kit are about as basic as you can get. They get the job done but aren’t going to provide you with features to make your drumming sound more expressive. The cymbals are all the same model of pad and the same size at 10 inches in diameter.
The hi-hat is controlled with the included foot pedal and works in the open, half-open and closed positions and generates appropriate sounds at each point. The response on the foot pedal is decent. There isn’t any variation in sounds from the bow to the edge though, for example. The sound dynamics on the hi-hat are fairly basic.
Both the crash and the ride cymbals are single zone pads. There is no choke on either pad. The ride doesn’t have a bell zone. Pretty basic stuff here.
The rack is decent and comes assembled out of the box. The poles on the rack have a hex design which keeps pads and mounts from slipping during play. The poles are made out of metal and the clamps and brackets are plastic. It works well, but it does feel like a budget kit rack.
The main thing I don’t like about the rack is that the cymbal mounts and drum mounts can’t be rotated towards or away from the drummer, so it ends up being pretty restrictive in terms of how you can spread out the cymbals or tilt the drums. As a result everything ends up feeling placed very close together with no real option to spread it out.
For a smaller kit it’s actually pretty sturdy, and as a comparison the rack feels much more sturdy than the rack on the Alesis Nitro Max. It stands up straight and doesn’t lean or wobble when played.
The main issue with sturdiness, in my opinion, is the cymbal mounts. Even when I had the clamps tightened up by about as much as they could handle, they still felt a little loose. I think it’s just kind of a result of the design of the clamps, and it’s kind of weird to deal with because they stay in place but feel a little loose.
Feel & Playability
This kit feels like a cheap budget kit when you play it, but the mesh heads on the drum pads help elevate the feel and give the heads a little better feeling in terms of rebound and stick action.
The snare and toms feel pretty good even though they can be smaller hit targets at 8 inches in diameter. The rim height is about right and doesn’t feel too high like some competitors.
The cymbal pads feel a little stiff when playing, and don’t respond terribly well to highly dynamic play, but they get the job done and are something to hit to make sound.
The hi-hat pedal is decent but not great. It feels good enough for a cheap kit at this level.
The kick pedal is decent for what it’s trying to do as well, once again not great but not really bad either. It’s an interesting design with the beater mounted pointing down where it comes in contact with a pad. So there is a little movement to the pedal, but it lacks the feel of a fully swinging beater. The spring on the kick pedal felt overly stiff until it broke in a little, and I had a hard time playing faster patterns with the kick drum until the spring loosened up a bit. It felt like it was forcing me to use a heal up technique and stomping harder on the pedal to play it properly.
My biggest issue with the feel of this kit is just how small it is. It’s smaller in stature and more compact than even the Titan 50. I’m 6′ 3″ and this kit just felt too small. To me when I’m sitting behind it or playing it, it feels like a kids drum kit. If you are a full size adult you will probably find this kit to be too small, and I would recommend going with the Titan 50 instead.
Double Kick Bass
This drum kit isn’t able to do double bass due to the limitation of the pedal and sound module. If you need to be able to play double bass, we’d recommend looking at the Titan 50 or the Alesis Nitro Max kits, which are just a little more expensive than this one but still pretty affordable.
The Simmons Titan 20 Drum Module
The Titan 20 drum module is pretty straightforward and doesn’t go very deep. However, it’s plenty serviceable for a budget kit like this. It has enough built in sounds and features to get you playing along with your favorite types of music with little effort.
The interface on this module is designed to be easy for beginner drummers to use. The clearly marked buttons do what you’d expect for the most part and many will find this module usable without even having to look at the manual.
Here’s what you’ll find on the top panel:
- Volume Knob – controls both line and headphone outputs
- Power Button
- Plus and Minus Butttons – for adjusting values in settings
- Kit Button – Enter kit mode to select a kit to play
- Song Button – Enter Song Mode or Practice Mode to play with songs
- Tempo – Change metronome or song tempo
- Click – Turn the click on or off
- Edit/Sel – Edit drum kits or change song settings
- Rec – Enter Record Mode to record a MIDI performance
- Play – Start playback of a song, also works as stop button
- Setup – Enters global settings like trigger sensitivity and MIDI settings
- Save – Press both the Mix/Mute and Play Buttons at the same to time to save kit edits
- LED Display – shows which kit you are playing and other info
- Bluetooth – Indicates if Bluetooth is connected
Inputs & Outputs
Inputs and outputs are fairly well organized on this module. A 25-pin snake is used to connect the bulk of the pads to the module, and the connector plugs in on the bottom of the module. On the back you get most of the rest of the connections.
On The Rear:
- Stereo Outputs – Unbalanced 1/4″ Jacks
- Aux In – 1/8″ Stereo Input Jack
- USB Connection
- 9v Power Adapter Input
On The Left Side:
- Headphone Output – 1/8″ stereo jack
Scope & Quality of Sounds
The Titan 20 drum module offers a nice set of sounds that have been produced specifically for the Titan series. Simmons used the London Bridge studio in Seattle and brought in Don Gunn to engineer the drum recordings and sounds. Don has experience working with popular music acts such as Soundgarden and Peter Frampton.
The result is a pretty nice set of tightly focused drum kits that revolve around common popular music styles. For example, there are drum kits that mimic Metallica’s Black Album drum sound, the 70’s drum sound, country and modern pop drums. Most drummers will likely find a kit that they really like within this lineup, depending on the styles they play.
There are 103 drum voices overall and 10 preset drum kits. There are also 1 user kit slot for a custom drum kit.
This module has Bluetooth built-in, and it can be used for audio and MIDI operations. You can only use either the audio or MIDI feature alone, not both at the same time.
It can be used to input audio into the sound module from an external device like a smartphone. While doing this, you can play along with audio from your Bluetooth devices.
The module can’t use Bluetooth for wireless headphones, due to limitations with latency and delay, so keep that in mind. You can only use wired headphones with this module.
This is pretty easy to do on this module. Simple press the kit button and choose a kit. The digital screen will show which kit you have selected.
Adjusting & Editing Kits
Kits can be edited and saved as a new custom kit with the single custom kit slot. The single custom kit slot is limiting.
There are some more advanced kit editing features available on this module, which are flexible enough to tweak the sound of your kits to your liking.
For editing drum sounds – you can change the drum sound assigned to each pad.
Editing kits has a few more options. You can change the level and panning of any of the sounds around the kit. There is a Reverb feature that allows you to send each sound to the reverb send individually, which helps dial in very specific reverb usage around the kit.
This mode allows you to play along with audio files or MIDI tracks. You can record your performances along with the songs and play them back, which is helpful for practicing and analysis.
The built in songs aren’t that bad, they include a bluesy rock track, a metal track and a funk track.
Practice mode on this module is an extension of the Song mode. Practice mode allows you to play along with the songs and the module will score your accuracy along several difficulty levels.
You can change between a few different practice mode options. You can play along with the song with a click or no click. You can play along with the song with intermittent clicks, which help you get used to playing with no click. You can also play along with the song and click track intermittently cutting out, so that you can get used to keeping time when the music drops out.
Overall, you get enough practice options here to help you along if you are a beginner drummer, the biggest being the metronome.
Setup mode is basically the utility settings mode on this module. This is where you’ll adjust things like pad sensitivity and trigger settings. For as basic as this module is, it has a pretty good set of configuration options. The options you can adjust include:
- Sensitivity – adjusts input level for each individual trigger
- Retrigger – helps you adjust the kit to avoid double-trigger hits on the pads
- Threshold – adjusts how softly a pad can be played before a hit is registered
- Curve – adjusts how dynamically the pad will respond to hard vs soft hits
- Crosstalk – helps keep pads from triggering other nearby pads when hit
- MIDI Number – adjust the corresponding MIDI note number for each pad
- Local MIDI – let’s you choose if the MIDI control is coming from the module or a DAW
- Bluetooth – is always on but can be turned off
The metronome settings are pretty standard, and there isn’t really anything flashy going on here. You can change volume, tempo and time signature.
When you purchase this kit, here’s what you’ll get in the box:
- Fully assembled rack
- Mounting hardware and boom arms
- Kick Pedal Controller
- Snare Pad
- 3 Tom Pads
- 1 Crash Cymbal Pad
- 1 Ride Cymbal Pad
- 1 Hi-hat Pad with Foot Pedal Controller
- Titan 20 Drum Module
- Cable Snake
- AC Adapter
- Drum Key
- Drum Sticks
Setup & Assembly
This drum kit isn’t too hard to get setup and put together, and the instructions are pretty good. If you’ve ever setup an electronic kit before there’s no major surprises here. I was able to put this one together without even looking at the manual.
One thing that is nice is that the rack comes partially assembled out of the box, so you aren’t stuck figuring out how all the brackets and clamps assemble from scratch. You can get the rack setup fairly quickly and get right to attaching the pads and cabling things up.
One issue I ran into during assembly was with the cymbal clamps. When tightening the clamps on the cymbal rods the rods still feel kind of loose, even though they are held in place well. This caused me to over-tighten one of the clamps and I broke it. Simmons support was good about replacing the clamp fairly quickly, but if that happens you’ll have to wait a week or two for replacement parts to get mailed out. So I’d recommend to be very careful when tightening up the cymbal clamps.
Simmons offers a 2 year warranty to cover defects in workmanship and material. This is one year longer than some other brands offer, which is nice. This came in handy for me right off the bat with the broken cymbal clamp.
- Mesh pads and drum heads feel good
- Fully assembled rack out of the box
- The kit is fairly sturdy for it’s small size
- Great for kids
- Drum module has good sounds for the price
- Drum module can do audio and MIDI over Bluetooth
- Too small for adults
- Cymbal pads are basic and only single zone
- Kick pedal has somewhat unnatural feel
- Tom pads are only single zone
- While the drum sounds are good, the sound library is limited
- Only one custom kit slot
2.5 out of 5.0 stars
2.5 out of 5.0 stars
3.0 out of 5.0 stars
2.0 out of 5.0 stars
3.0 out of 5.0 stars
1.0 out of 5.0 stars
3.0 out of 5.0 stars
The Simmons Titan 20 electronic drum kit is about as basic of a drum kit as you can get from Simmons right now. Even though it’s a very basic kit and low on features, it is a good value for kids who might want to try out drumming due to it’s price point, especially if you can find it on sale. If you are a teen or adult and looking at this kit as a serviceable beginners kit to get into drumming, I’d recommend the Titan 50 from Simmons instead. It’s not much more expensive and it’s a better value overall than the Titan 20, as well as more fun to play.